3 out of 4 stars
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Wings at Dawn, by Marie Balustrade, is one of the most intense books I have read in a long time. It centers around Alex, Julian, and Matt, longtime friends. Alex was sent to Delhi on a magazine assignment to expose child trafficking and prostitution in India. He recruits Julian, a photographer, and Matt, a human rights lawyer to help. As they work undercover in different brothels to try to help children escape with the help of some locals, they learn horrifying things.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the friendship between Alex, Julian, and Matt. They were more like brothers than friends. At one point, Julian thought to himself, “Matt and Alex are the pillars of my soul, if anything happens to either of them it would be the end of my world.” They went through traumatic events and were always there for each other. For example, when Julian had a meltdown, Matt and Alex went so far as to hold him and purr in his ear like a cat. They had figured out it was the only thing that calmed him down when things got really bad. I also enjoyed the banter between the men. It helped lighten the mood.
What I liked least about the book were all the errors I found. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was professionally edited. There were spelling errors, punctuation errors, hyphens in random places, and so many formatting issues. Page numbers appeared in random places. The letter “y” randomly appeared in between paragraphs. It was a distraction, which is a shame since the story was so intriguing. Also, there were a lot of footnotes, which normally wouldn’t be an issue, but the explanations were at the end of the book. This wasn’t efficient for the e-book. Having to constantly scroll to the end of the story and back messed up the flow.
As I stated earlier, this book was intense. Children should not read this. Teenagers should not read this. Even a lot of adults would probably have a hard time reading it. There are graphic rape scenes, foul language, and death. It goes into great detail regarding what happens to child prostitutes, both boys and girls. Some of the children in the book were as young as five years old. Although it is a work of fiction, these events are based on real life. It’s a lot to handle. I cried more than once. Despite all that, I did enjoy the book. It was eye-opening. So, adults who aren’t too sensitive could still enjoy it.
I would rate Wings at Dawn 3 out of 4 stars. I can’t give it a 4 because of all the errors. If it gets professionally edited, it has the potential to be a 4. I wouldn't give it a 2, though, because even though it was tough to read, it was extremely interesting. I wanted to keep reading to see what happened next. I was never bored reading it.
Wings at Dawn covers a serious, horrific topic. However, I would still recommend it to others as a reminder that through the horror, there is hope and goodness in the world. I think the character of Alex said it best when he told a rescued boy, “Be like the eagle who waits to spread its wings at dawn and fly again.”
Wings At Dawn
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